We are now in Cathedral Gorge State Park in Panaca, Nevada which is about 165 miles north of Las Vegas. It is a lightly populated county and we have stopped here once before about five years ago. The weather has been spectacular with temperatures about 10 degrees below normal.
The park has about 22 RV sites and sits in a long, narrow valley surrounded by cathedral-like spires made of bentonite clay. There are three short trails in the park that take you along the eroded formations and then up above the valley to Millers and Eagle Points for a bird’s eye view of the valley. The sunsets are spectacular and we enjoy sitting outside watching the formations change color with the setting sun. Some of the park’s facilities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and are still standing.
The county is home to five state parks and we did day trips to two other parks this time around. We hiked a short canyon trail at Echo Lake State Park and although the trail was shorter than we liked, it packed in a lot of scenery.
Next, we visited Kershaw-Ryan State Park – literally an oasis in the desert. The park sits in a lush canyon and was once a homestead. It has beautiful landscaping for a desert and offers a great place for a picnic lunch. A short trail winds up above the park showing quite a contrast between the canyon and the surrounding desert.
I am really enjoying our stay but, honestly what brought us in this direction was food. Yes, food. This weekend is the annual Cathedral Gorge Dutch Oven Cookoff. Cooking categories include best bread, best desert, best main course and best vegetable/side dish. Hmmm…sounds interesting. Last year, about 200 spectators showed up to enjoy the park and eat some good food and we decided to be spectators ourselves.
One of the cooks is parked near us. We introduced ourselves when he first came in and were admiring his cooking setup. The next morning as I was drinking my coffee, I couldn’t help notice that he was doing some dutch oven cooking and I wondered what he might be cooking for breakfast. Not too long after that thought, there came a knock on the door. It was our neighbor, bringing us some freshly-made dutch oven buttermilk biscuits. Wow…they were tasty.
We’re looking forward to the main event on Saturday where we get watch the cooks and then to load up our plate with some delicious food. Life is good…hmmmm…hmmm…good.